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Birds starting to take shape now and very pleased with how some are coming through.
Had a couple of visitors today, I always like it when people come to see me as it give the birds someone else to look at other than me!
If anyone knows a retired border man that would like a totally free holiday in Blackpool next October then get them to give me a call. I need a house and bird minder for 10 days whilst away. Dont mind a couple coming, it is the illuminations so plenty to see and do! (not kidding by the way, I am totally serious)
First big show this coming weekend ? North Staffs cant wait to get the results and see who has the early birds on the podium. If birds have improved from last year then there are going to be some absolute smashers on the bench. Happy to upload some photos if anyone wants to send me a couple through after the show.
In the shed there are less feather on the floor each day now but obviously feathers are still growing on the birds and they are improving daily. After a couple of days away I can really tell the diference. So when I get back from a week away in Hungary at the end of the month I should see a significant change. My birds always seem to come on in November no matter when they are bred. Make letting the surplus go early a bit of a gamble.
High Spen YSS results just text through:
Best Border vyc Ron Silitoe
2nd vbc Billy and Paul Heathcote
3rd cbh Davie Brown
4th vbc Ian Wishart
5th cinnie yh Billy and Paul Heathcote
6yh tpdbh Jack clarke
7th gfbh Gary Bishop
What a lovely day it has turned out to be after a grey and mizley morning. Just nice now for sitting on the M6 and M5 for several hours as I head south west. The sunshine really makes a difference to the birds even though I have no windows in my shed, with the door open the young cocks strike up and get in to juvenile canary cock song. Down side is that the stonking hen you thought you had also strikes up and shatters ones hopes of a belting hen... we have all been there and got the tee shirt for that no doubt.
Soon be show season following a few young stock shows knocking around at the minute. Show Secs can you please send your results direct to Colin (BC) and copy to me, Colin will handle officially and upload to the BC website and I will put news flash on this news box to keep everyone up to date as best I can. Any site members that want to send me text results for a quick call then I will upload asap.
Just setting off now on my travels, will have wifi tonight all being well so can catch up on fb chat or this chatroom. Have a good weekend everyone. S
Phil has now put the video clip on his YouTube Channel and it is much better quality on YouTube the video footabge isn't jumping around etc.
Been a grey day here in Blackpool, nit that I have had chance to get outside, been full on all day at work. Away from tomorrow again til Sunday but back by mid afternoon and will get into the bird shed for an hour or two before it gets dark. Been putting the baths on most days to help the birds get rid of stubborn pin feathers that won't break the sheath of the feather, usually one or 2 on the head - bathing works and soon preen them out. What a difference it makes when the head is tidied up, the loose hairs trimmed and all spick and span. The guys on the chat room was asking if we cut or pull the long head and neck hairs out? seemed that people did both. The advantage of cutting is that they wont grow back again, but one slip and they get short back and sides!! personally I stroke the head feathers towards the beak so they ruffle up and the hairs stick straight up, I then gently pull them out. I have to say that I have not had cause to repeat, so not actually sure if they do grow back?
Catch up later on Chatroom if you are about
Check Phil's fb page to see some of the 2014 youngsters. 2 video clips available to view
Dark and ready for big downpour here in Blackpool at the moment but still quite warm.
I have just started a forum topic about the size of the show cage drinkers holes, I know we have over the years been down this road before but as we start training the birds up again it is apparant that some birds just hate putting their heads through the little holes. We all know the little tips for getting them to do it but we will see many again at shows huddled up and fluffed up because they are not drinking (the birds I am on about not the blokes that own them)
If you have an opinion and want to contribute to the debate then please do so on the Forum Page. Thanks
Starting to think I live on the M6 motorway!! just back from a weekend show jumping with the GB Youth Team - some good potential for the future all being well. Hopefully same as what is in my shed one day :-) had a quick nip in when I got back tonight and I am pleased with my little lot. One or two that I took out of group cages late last week are looking fab... how can birds change so much is always beyond me. It really does make the point not to let birds go to soon unless you have good reason to do so and dont mind them going to a specific new home.
The soft moult problem seems to have been resolved with the exception of one buff cock that continues to want to buck the trend!! it has to be more than a coincidence that the complex Vit B makes a difference as it was the only thing I changed by introducing it a couple of weeks ago now. If you get birds finish the moult and then show signs of soft flank feathers get them on Vit B asap - or better still have some at the ready. I am going to give my birds a dose once a week until the weather turns cold to see if it holds the problem off, I will keep you briefed accordingly.
Managed to grab a couple of days in the shed since back from South Wales but away again this coming weekend at a riding camp. Pleased with how the birds are looking generally and holding good form now. Except for odd one or two still to tidy up I seem to have put a stop to the going soft scenario - what a pain that is.
Swings and roundabouts each year isnt it with how many cocks v hens and yellows v buffs. In 2013 it was mainly yellow dark hens and in 2014 there seems to be more yellow cocks at the minute - not a bad thing but I dont want many more starting to sing or I will be short of good hens - not worrying yet though :-)
We seems to get through a load of seed at this time of year until the surplus has gone, seems endless job everyday doing the seed and waters. Add to that rotating the baths each morning! and hanging show cages on I sometimes wonder how those fanciers that have full time job and dont work from home actually cope. I certainly wouldnt have birds without the support of the home team when I am away working.
Keep at it - catch up later. S
Good news on a couple of fronts today, firstly the Chatroom seems to have picked up and we have had a good group for this week so far. During the breeding season the numbers dropped off a bit as was to be expected but back into double figures most nights again now.
Secondly the birds have got a grip of themselves and seem to have stopped dropping flank feathers at last. I got some Complex Vit B and have given it to the birds all this week, might be coincidence but seems to have done the trick - read Linda Hogan's blog on her Canary Tales for more information.
Birds in general are looking good and taking shape nicely, well I am pleased with them anyway! Catch up later if on Chatroom. S
Check out www.dinkiebags.co.uk for a new line in carrying bags for Dewer Show Cages. They will hold 4 cages and look a good product.
Day before having to be away again this weekend as I am off down to London working Saturday and Sunday. At least get away from sweeping feathers up for a few days. Put a few pics on the home page of one or two that are starting to shape up a bit. going to be a while yet before anything like finished though. Seems I am not alone with a few going into second moult or going soft as you might say - at least now and not later in the year. Catch up later, not too much news today
Busy day but managed to get into the shed later on today to check the birds over. Not much can be done at this time except wait for the new feathers and sweep old ones up!
Still got a problem with one or two buffs dropping feathers again, really does my head in when the birds are looking nice then they go and spoil themselves by having a mini moult. I dug around the web today and found some advice from Linda Hogan after a friend told me that she had covered this subject sometime ago. I had heard that pigeon men give stressed birds Complex Vit B to make sure they are in tip top condition and dont drop feathers before a race - Linda by coincidence recommends that canaries are given Complex Vit B if they go into a soft moult and this will pull them through. I emailed a friend in Germany that breeds Goldies and Bullfinches and he gives Complex Vit B at the start of the moult once a week because he doesnt want birds chucking feathers out to grow in a deeper colour etc makes sense I suppose. Mercasystems do a full range of Complex Vit B - I might send for some to have on standby just in case. Otherwise all is well in the shed and happy with what is coming through so far.
Good evening, glad to say I am back in the UK after a week in Hungary. It was good to be able to get into my shed this afternoon although not completely what I expected, Some birds are now about 85% through but some in my opinion have actually gone backwards, I say this only because they had nest feather head feathers still in when I went away and now some look like they hace been scalped. Goint to be a good few weeks yet before anything fully sorted. I started early with my birds, alot earlier than most and I would not have anything ready for early members shows that will soon be starting.
One thing for sure I wont miss the daily floor covering of feathers. Catch up on the chat room shortly if anyone around. S
Still in Hungary until Saturday morning, should be home and in my shed for a checking out of the birds by lunchtime, cant wait. News from home is that all is well and no casualities so that is good news at least. Been keeping my ear to the ground and asking if there are any bordermen around the local area here in Hungary but I dont get a very positive reply - so dont think they are very popular here.
Up at sparrows o'clock in the morning for riding training or pony trek as Scotty calls it (indeed) then off to do some shooting, dont mind that bit.
Will keep in touch one I get home.
Bright but chilly morning here in Blackpool and local news informing us that going to be a bumper bank holiday weekend with trippers streaming up the M6 both ways from the North and South. Luckily I am heading out of Blackpool down to Luton Airport!
FYI and just a snippet of high tech infomation, yesterday saw the launch of pay by credit card bloody donkey rides on the sea front - what next... they have installed a swipe card machine on the saddle of the donkey, so swipe jump on and ride! I can see this being useful method for some other blackpool activities currently available. I think it was sixpence a go when I was a nipper coming to blackpool for a donkey ride - now you can pay by credit card so I wonder what the charge is now? thing is they are the same donkeys! (Alice, Bob, Jack etc etc) lol
I think this sudden cold snap is just what the birds need to push them through a bit quicker. It dropped down to 6 degrees in my shed last night and forecast is 3 degrees for tonight. One or two of the last birds out of the nest are only just staring to throw feathers out with any sort of proper moult process - and have actually found a fresh laid egg 2 days on the bounce now in the flighted hens cage, so one of them is still at it.
Visitors to my shed this year will immediately notice a difference in the quantity of lighter coloured birds, still got a smattering of darks and heavy var but at last there are clears and lightly marked birds. I will pair up carefully next year to maintain the light birds but also pair up to retain my good dark line that I have enjoyed over previous years. As I said previously, this year the whites have not done as good as I paired up for, normally prolific but this breeding season only ones or zero whites in the nests. Going to rectify that next year! Right, work calls, have a great bank holiday weekend and I will keep in touch from Hungary as and when I get an internet connection. S
Weather currently taken a few degrees drop in temperature which for most of us is very welcome it can add to problems in the birdroom. This time of year as birds come towards latter part of the moult nearly all of us encounter some form of second moult with one or two birds. Having read and collated experiences from people over many years there is definitely more to this than just bad luck and birds chucking a few more feathers out at the end of the moult. This fall into a couple of categories and several reasons for each. Firstly the one that we refer to as a soft moult, gathered info in the majority says that this is caused by fluctuation in temperature, change in diet, drafts and or moving bottom to top cages etc. Then there is what some call Shock moult which when you think about it is very possible: birds finish the moult and we start letting them hop in and out of a show cage hanging on the stock cage, fine - but then we put it on the staging in the shed and the bird often goes bonkers - see how many of those then chuck a few feathers out later than day or the next day? example of shock moult in the very extreme is when a bird is chased by a cat appears to be caught as feathers fly everywhere but in fact the cat has not got the bird. I think one of the former reasons of soft moult are more relevant to us. Best to be mindfull?
Busy week for me work wise this week so time in the shed will be limited - then away to Hungary at the weekend for a week. Hope by the time I get back there will be some significant difference (for the better!) with the birds
Another weekend almost over and being at home have had lots of time to spend in the shed. Seed hoppers and egg drawers all been through dish washer and now immaculate with only the cage fronts to whip through the dishwasher when I get cages emptied. I used the fibre glass Kent Cage fronts and they come up spotless every year, no painting and messing around. If I could turn the clock back I would have used black ones instead of white but the whites ones look very smart.
Week today and off to Hungary for a training camp all the following week, birds are only on moulting programme now so minimum attention needed - peace and quiet does it for next few weeks with good food and fresh water. They will have the baths put on as usual whilst I am away.
Still to early to decide what is coming through the best as it changes almost daily, one minute I think there is something looking good then next day it looks like Ken Dodds hair on a bad day.
Highlight of the day has been that I had a very rare but welcome visitor, always good to sepnd a couple of hours with fellow bordermen and get a second opinion on the birds so far. Not quite back to the drawing board, pleased to say!!
Catch up later.
From a very wet Blackpool chucking it down with rain. At least it is not roasting hot in the shed and no need for aircon to be on.
Thought the home page could do with a quick update so added a few photos snapped over last few days of the birds, still ragged up mostly but I am happy enough with them and already I can see that there is an improvement. I have been asked recently and listened to comments as to why I spend time with the website. To be honest I often ask myself the same question. The starting point was that there was a need for a communication tool to fill the gap being temporarily vacated by the BC website going through webmaster changes etc. Pleased to say that Colin has it well under control now and it is very popular. Secondly it was to give otherwise loner bordermen with no cohort of fanciers local to them the opportunity to keep in touch and make new friends through the chatroom and forum. There is no doubt we have achieved both these points. As it is non profit making (ie no membership fee or trade payments) it is not dependant on usage but coming up to 300,000 hits continues to remind me there is still some interest. The one or 2 that pay the few pound admin fee for an advert page covers the site registration fee each year. So what do I get out of it? Increased awareness, my route to market (helpful when I have to dispose of surplus birds) No doubt helpful if I want to bring a bird in. And going back to the starting point: we have all made tons of friends we would not have made and have so much banter on the chatroom when its busy. One of the main positives though is the way we have shared information that has previously been restricted to individual birdrooms, I enjoy researching and sharing that research with everyone. Some time ago now but remember the sawdust saga when goldchip changed prices and bag size? One or 2 were using Tierwohl and some (me included never heard of it) now plenty are using it. So many good examples of shared practice you have all contributed to - thanks very much.
So thats it in a nutshell :-)
Still working on a trip to Dr Peter Coutteel early in the New Year - got people interested already!
Evening, hope you just watched Jo Pavey win the European 10,000m gold medal, what a performance! 40yrs old and first major title, what an inspiration to anyone - never give up.
weather has taken a dip over last few days, damp and a few degrees lower temperature - ideal for early birds to start dropping a few feathers again and go soft - be alert to this. Happened to quite a few of us last year. Tell tale signs are usually the buffs start to go a bit fluffy on the flanks to start with then day by day loose feathers again.
Going to start touching up a few cages this weekend, probably a re-paint for some, so birds will be doubled up for a day until paint dries - that said I might leave it til I come bacl from Hungary in a week or two.
Hope most are seeing the transformation now with their birds and taking on the true border type - I really like this time of year (except the sweeping up)
OK as you will see I have given in and put the Forum page back on the menu. Can I just ask that you remember that what ever goes on the Forum is public to the world and sometimes can quite innocently damage the border fancy. I have to take ultimate responsibility for what is on the site but if I am not quick enough to edit it I end up in the you know what - so please use for the good of us all.
Very windy here today and roof rattling disturbing the birds, took a couple of quick pics but all they do is remind me how far the birds have yet to go. Most dont have many feathers in their head and plenty to fill out yet with under feather. By the time I have been to Budapest working for a week I should see a difference. Once they are looking better I will take a batch of photos and put on the gallery page. Catch up later tonight if anyone on the Chatroom
Probably like most of the country here in Blackpool we have had serious rain this morning, but it didnt put the bowlers off on the bowling green opposite my house, they have a match to play no matter what the weather is doing.
Managed to get some of the shed cleaned out yesterday and once I finish the bit of proper work I have to do this morning I will be back in the shed again this afternoon. Usual amount of feathers on the floor this morning when I opened up but amount has to reduce fairly soon I hope. One or two of the late birds have not dropped a feather yet, as have the couple of flighted hens still to start, so my feather sweeping is not over yet a while.
Punk weekend in Blackpool at the minute, omg reminders of what Johny Rotten and the Sex Pistols left behind as their legacey! there are thousands of em on the prom. We seem to get every type of weekend here but the best one aprt from the British Border of course !! is the Pigeon Weekend, absolutely thousands of pigeon men from around the world hit town, best bit is the amount of product stands in the Winter Gardens and the Tower - they are just so much advanced than any other avian variety.
Early in the New Year I am looking at taking a mini-bus over to Dr Peter Coutteel's place and have a morning in his clinic, get what I need for the breeding season and if I can arrange it with him for us to receive a short period of his time to explain latest research on blackspot and anything else he can shre with us. Once I have something sorted I will try and fill the bus up accordingly. Of course tied in with a hypermarket trip for the duty free's .....
Right off down for a brew and then into the shed for the afternoon.
Catch up later. S
Up and down sort of week in the shed, early birds are now almsot through with just heads to finish visually but loads of under feather still to go for sure. The later birds are now chucking feathers out for fun and still sweeping up everytime I go in the shed - yes I know, same as everyone else!
one or two are looking half decent now and I am pleased with what I am seeing.
Got a couple of week at home now before of to Budapest for a weeks training camp.
Complete cleaning out day tomorrow, cages, floors and a general scrub down of everything.
Have a good weekend whatever you are doing>
Finally back home after a week in Barcelona at European Championships and then landing at 2.30pm yesterday at heathrow only to get diverted off the M40 at Junc 7 as M40 was closed Junc 8 to 9 so had to divert through Oxford at 4.45pm (great) along with several thousand other cars doing same thing until whole area was gridlocked.
Finally got in the house around 10ish last night, too late to go in the shed obviously.
Well, this morning was a bit of an eye opener when I went in the shed, birds looked well and all swept up, watered and seed all topped up - just the one casualty but happend to be one of the youngsters I thought would come through nicely - shit happens though and nothing can be done about it.
I think I will be letting people down that wanted a white from me as they are not there in the numbers I need and apart from a couple or 3 they are not good enough in my opinion. Sorry, but will pair up for a better result with them in 2015.
One thing for sure is that borders over all other canaries really do change the most through the moult, not just because they look good and develop new feather but because they actually grow in physical size too. Several since I left home last week have changed so much, onces that I gave no hope too now have a chance.
Bloody hell lads, calm down..... got up this morning to a full inbox and bollockings for saying I was going to shut the website down! I am a full supporter of the Convention and appreciate the work they do, behind the scenes with Don and Colin there is good communication regarding the Journal photos and website particularly in the show season.
I will strip the webite down and revamp its format but leave it live and hopefully it will continue to work along side the Convention website.
Working out in Barcelona this week and just got around to reading the latest edition of the Journal. For those that have read it will no doubt have been drawn to the comments about the Mandates being debated on the Forum of my website. The article calls for an apology from all concerned, I hereby apologise for allowing this debate to take place on the forum page. I have removed all reference to that subject from the Forum as a temporary measure and when I get back to my office next week I will close down this website and make it redundant. Thanks to those members that have contributed to the over a quarter of a million site hits in so few years. I will use my face book account to post photos and results in the show season. Good luck to everyone. S
Back from Sweden last night (1am this morning) and was able to get in the shed for a few minutes today - even with aircon on it was still too hot to stand around in there for too long.
Birds are in terrible state in the main and would have liked them to have been further forward in the moult than they look. Some though are coming through ok and look quite nice.
Will hang the baths on tomorrow and let them have a splash around. I will have the weekend here and then away again to Sant Boi Barcelona for 6 days to another competition. This is how it is now right the way through to November - get back from Barcelona, have a week and then out to Budapest for another week.
Hope everyone coping with the hot spell and no birds start to drop into second moult - worst case in my opinion as it buggers everything up.
Morning everyone, again sorry for lack of updates but the home wifi has been running on teacakes and stopping at every currant for the last week or so making life almost unbearable. Anyway I am going to be onroute to Uppsala Sweden shortly and just wanted to give a quick update before my drive down to Heathrow.
Knee deep in feathers and sweeping up several times per day, not my favourite time this, other than seeing the birds transform. They seem to look nice in nest feather showing some promise, then they drop feathers and look like they might not be big enough, then the scruffy stage, quickly (hopefully) followed by the transformation into the show stopper we have all been waiting for - YEH RIGHT !! if only that easy - what about the heart stopping moments when you walk in the shed and the very best you, your favourite is either dead, got a claw straight forward or back, sat on the floor shaking like a shitting dog because it had a fit or another bird has scalped it - yes you now the story all too well? the best bird everytime gets it. The other day one of my FEW whites this year looked mor like a raspberry ripple that a white bird, it had knocked its wing and a growing flight feather had come out and it was bleeding for NATO.
But the good news for me is that I think the birds are better than last year and if I can say that every year then eventually they should be smart enough. Managed to get through the breeding season again without the soaked seed and it doesn't seem to adversely affected the birds by not using it, I think my size has improved and feather quality is good - I will stick to similar routine next year with just one or 2 little tweaks to what I do.
Anyway, last few things to pack and then the dreaded M6 to face this afternoon.
been away for several days (during day only) and to be honest not much to report at the minute other than one or two birds are begining to look really nice as they get to about 75% through the moult. others though are at the rubbish stage.. so I have mixed feelings when I look around the shed.
Here til Wednesday then off to Uppsala Sweden for a week for the European Championships (in Modern Pentathlon) Hope I see a good change in the birds after a week away. Keep up the sweeping!!
The North Wales Border Fancy Canary Club annual show will be held on Sunday the 2nd of November at the Loreto Centre Llandudno (LL30 2EL). Having attracted new fanciers from as far as Ireland last year the committee are keen to increase their entries and have improved the cash specials, Best order in Show will be awarded £50. The classification has been simplified and will include additional unflighted classes for the main stream colours including self greens. Fanciers will be allowed into the hall during the judging by prior arrangement with the club secretary Mr Ron Williams (tel 01286 650 561). Judges engaged are Mr L Evans and Mr J Furmage from South Wales.
The Loreto Centre provides for free of road parking and refreshments will be served all day. Llandudno is a popular seaside town which offers many amenities and tourist attractions.
A Fife section will once more be included having proved a great success last year, Best Fife in Show will be awarded £50 (paid up members). Schedules will be available by August and it will be possible to download them online.
A roasting hot day here in Blackpool today and time for aircon on in shed I think.
Full on sweeping mode now with feathers everywhere, seeks endless task at this time of year but worth it I hope when some nice birds come through.
Yesterday was my knee op day - went in at 8.30hrs yesterday morning, they did my obs, booked me in, waited a short time then down to theatre, bing bang bosh - scoped my knee, injected some steriod silicone gell and I was back in my room before I knew it. I was home and walking by lunchtime, a little sore where they went into my knee cap but today it is fine and feels amazing. Last time I had it done in the 80's at Aldershot military hospital the gormless idiots even cut the wrong knee so when I woke up i had both knee's butchered instead of only the bad one. Leaving scares that you would associate with a chain saw. Cant even see the hole from yesterdays operation -the wonders of modern medicine.
Hope all finishing off now and you are sweeping up as many feathers as me!!
Again or lack of news as the case maybe? another day of the birds looking ragged up and waiting for them to put their new clothes on so I can see what they looked like dressed! shed life consists of brush in hand sweeping up, feeding and changing waters at each visit at the moment. No different to everyone else I suppose but it does my head in. One bird has a fly around in its cage, feathers go everywhere and the whole shed goes bonkers. Started hanging the odd show cage on again to let the older ones hop in and out - nothing too serious at the minute training wise. Getting to a show with some birds this year looks out of the question again - every weekend of a show I am working, bit annoying as I wanted to put a few out this year at a couple of shows. I am trying to convince my son to take me some but not keen. See how they look first then decide what I will do.
Hope everyone happy enough with their season. S
Sorry for lack of news over last few days but not much happening now as all my time in the shed is spent sweeping feathers up and filling egg drawers.
I did have one interesting conversation about the fertility of cock birds and the age they are when actually paired up. I have my own theory on this but hey, what do I know. You will all have heard before "that unfltd cock was hopeless" or the cock I brought in did nothing etc etc..... well her is a scenario: If like me you apir up early (end of Feb/begining of March) then you need to be using a cock that was bred early the year before and not one that you have brought in from someone that bred late and you have a cock that was maybe bred at the end of July?? this imo is too young then for early breeding, But then you hear "my cocks are fit as a fiddle at the end of the breeding season" omg think about it...!! of course they are because they are maturing still. How many when actually pairing up look at the date of hatch of the unfltd cocks they are using? be honest I bet not many of you... my tip is work your pairings accordingly so that later bred cocks are used later in your breeding season and give them that extra month to mature. All that said, some young cocks are studs so I might be totally wrong. I can only share my own experiences and since I started taking careful not of how old young cocks are, I had reduced clear eggs and my success rate has improved. Iwould be interested to know if this is something anyone else considers at breeding time. Forum debate maybe
In addition to the news I put up this morning I can tell you that Dave Coles passed away on Monday night at 8.30pm.
The Club's Open Show will be a Memorial Show on 26th October 2014 in his memory.
It is with regret that I have to write this news item because the fancy has lost a trully great man. David Coles has passed away. I will wait for further details and if appropriate will add another news item.
I have been at maximum at work and not had a great deal of time for anything other than work for past week or so, hence the news items being few and far between. On a positive note it seems that there are plenty of youngsters around now and over past few days reports have been of above average season overall. Sorry to say that has not been the case for everyone though with some only in single figures.
My intention to run a couple of birds out at a show or two this year have been dashed - I am away working for just about every weekend there is a show on. So unless I get my son to take the birds for me it will be yet another year of "no show" oh well the pleasure of having the birds has always outweighed the showing for me anyway. Trying to hang on and maintain the high standard of birds and my level of enthusiasm until I retire and have as much time as I need to devote to them.
Weekend at home this coming weekend so plenty of time to get some jobs done.
Blistering weather here today in Blackpool.
Just back after couple of days down in Bath on meetings. Birds now completely fallen apart and at the moment they are at the look rubbish stage, flighted hens are the worst and obviously the early chicks.
got tomorrow at home and then away until Sunday night. my kids are doing the Cotswold half iron man Sunday so I have my old mate Bill staying over looking after the birds for me Saturday night. He can keep the dogs company. I understand a few peoples fortune has changed towards the end of the season and some strong chicks now featuring - I am pleased for everyone. lets just get them all through the moult and see whats what.
GCWBFC meeting on Wednesday 11th June at 8pm in Page Community Centre. Mr Roger Brett giving talk on breeding cinnamon and whites, all welcome .Enquiries 01179643034
Wexford BFCC will host the Irish BFCC "Country Meeting" on Sunday 20th July at 2pm.
The venue will be our new show venue, North End Utd Football Club, Belvedere Road, Wexford Town.
Refreshments will be provided.
We will hold our own club meeting beforehand, commencing at 1pm, all are welcome.
Secretary, Colm Southern 053-9426557
Feathers Feathers Feathers everywhere, my worst time of the year now for next month or so yet at the end we see the birds hopefully in all their glory and finest clothes!
Gone are the nice early signs of good borders and here is now the scruffy heaps of rubbish (must try and remember that they were good before dropping feathers :-)
Great to see most of the old gang back (and some new members) on the chatroom last night, probably a coincidence but everytime MICKDON is back online the chatroom seems to boom each night - thanks Mick.
I am going to have to change tactics next year in my plight to get another cracking fawn (seems to be avoiding me no matter what I do) Going to step up from using a carrier cock to a visual Cin Cock to one of my white hens to give me the chance of a fawn hen and if lucky a white carrier cock. The problem being I dont have a visual cin cock and know it will be almost impossible to get one. Any volunteers willing to let one go that is reasonable - drop me an email :-)
Thats all for now - catch up later. S
Well not so much as news but hello to everyone and sorry for not getting to the website as much as I used to at the minute. It is so busy at work and what with shed full of chicks I am coming out of the shed at night and so whacked I can't face the laptop after being on it at work all day to. To top all that off I am virtually crippled at the minute with a bust knee - so I am even more grumpier than ever and just not the best person to be around right now!! was due to get steriod injection in the morning but the good old NHS tld me today that my appointment has now been slipped to the end of the month - bloody great! going to be good fun hobbling around Manchester, Bath, Solihull etc for meeting I have to attend during June.
Getting into the shed first thing in the morning to feed the birds, then if lucky I nip in at lunchtime for 5 min and hang a show cage or 2 on the first lot of chicks and then about 6.30ish for an hour to do seed and water... full on believe me. Plenty of the early chicks are well into the moult now and can see colour coming through on the wing butts and chest - early yet but looks like majority are yellows and very few buffs, what buffs there are seem to be darks. Looks like going to be ok for yellow hens at this stage. Whites have been a flop numbers wise and I wont be able to help many people this year with one - sorry. There are a few and 2 of them look exceptional, so some light at the end of the tunnel. I shoved the white cock around a couple of hens at the end just to see if I could nick a few more and will have to wait and see on that one.
Over the past 36 hours Borders have been at the bottom of my priority list - frinds of the site will remember that my daughter was running the highest marathon on the planet today! The Everest Marathlon.
Well around 24hrs ago our family got news that the runners had to be evacuated and dug out of an avalanche still in their tents.... they eventually got back to Base Camp and had to wait for the weather to break in order to get the race started. With altitude sickness kicking in amongst the non Nepalise athletes time was ticking by. The race eventually got under way 42km (26 mile 130yds) with the supporting event being the half distance (half marathon) then the news came through to us that we didnt want to hear Andrea had passed out lungs bursting and serious effects of altitude but she had received oxygen and got herself back together with only several miles to go. At this stage she was quite well placed before having to receive aid so didnt lose too much time, then she carried on to finish the race and her team all completed the run - what an effort. Her partner Karl actually won the half marathon - well done Karl mate. there are a couple of photo's on my FB page just click the FB logo opposite.
I am away for weekend so birds will have to be in the hands of the home team - feathers now falling from the first youngsters and wing butts showing good colour coming through. next stage is they all start looking rubbish for a fews weeks then we will see what is in the shed!!
Breeding now coming to close for me and separated nest of 5 this morning, with about dozen or so still in nests thats will be ready by next weekend. Actually undecided if I am going to run my best white cock to a few hens just to increase chance of a couple of white youngsters - he is fit enough and bending the bars on the cage to get to the hens. Will make my mind up this week. Chicks now at that stage when you go in the shed and one minute you have something special and the next minute they are a load of rubbish, we all go through this don't we? another week and the first youngsters should start casting feathers and I will see first signs of colour on the shoulders, then into mass sweeping up mode for a month or so... then we find out what hand we have been dealt with this season - little gems or disapointments. Chatroom has gone very quiet now and almost not worth it taking space on my home page, but will leave it there for the few that regularly log on each night for a catch up.
Following the downpour of rain this morning the afternoon picked up a little, although tonight I think we are in for more rain. Some of the final clutches hatched today, so getting fewer and fewer to go. It still surprises me how they grow so rapid from 4 to 8 weeks in their life and then once moulted they continue to grow right through til the end of Autumn. I think when my visitors come over the Fleetwood weekend they will be pleastantly surprised this year with the amount of light birds instead if the usual shed full of darks. My plan paid of for once at last.
Hope you all have a good Bank Holiday and spend some quality time in your sheds.
Sorry for delay in getting news items on the website but like most others I am flat out at work and then the birds are very demanding and looking after so many is a challenge in itself when i am hopping here there and everywhere. I was away this morning to Manchester and back lat this afternoon, then straight into the shed to tend to the birds. Probably known to everyone but I have picked up a good tip for preparing the Cous Cous in that if you add just a couple of drops of olive oil and stir around before you add the boiling water, then the cous cous does not clog up at all and is lovely and so much easier to mix into your softfood. Just a couple of drops though!!
Update on the birds: All looking ok and expecting first ones to start dropping feathers in next 2 weeks, really pleased how some are developing and growing on - I think some could be as good as anything I have bred before and fingers crossed they are better! time will tell.....
Evening everyone - pleased to say I am back in the UK after a few days working in Budapest. It rained like nothing you have seen for 2 days solid with mass floods all over the place, not quite as bad as Serbia but I think heading that way. Then to get back home and it is boiling hot, what a contrast. Had an hour or so in the shed just tidying up and a bit of general stocktaking of the youngsters, one had knocked its foot somehow but toher than that they are growing on nicely still a few hens to finish off but well over half now back in flight cages to make room for the chicks. Several of the breeding hens are in advanced stage of moult already, the next part of the season I dislike - not stop sweeping feathers up - but the positive side of that is seeing the birds transform into final product.
Hope things picking up for you in your own shed and you have some chicks to enjoy.
I will try and make the chatroom tonight if I can keep my eyes open long enough. S
Please note that Cleveland Cages as started to make a new website and although very early days it is worth making a note of the URL and save it as a favourite
Evening, just back from day in Solihull working (competition) had very quick nip in the shed and all seems to be well today, 3 hens have hatched off on schedule today - others over the rest of the week are due.
I have had an enquiry about a sysmpton of dying border chicks and I wanted to know if anyone else has experienced same or know of the symptom as it is a new one that I have not come accross before. It seems that the chicks at about 10 days develop a hard cyst (almost bone hard) in the stomach, about the size of small marble. It is white but not sceptic or puss filled. I suggested to send a chick off to the lab for analysis? I dont have any information on this, if any website members know of it can you start a forum article?
Hope everyone has a good week.
GCWBFC meeting on Wednesday 14th at 8pm Mr Des Horswell giving talk on borders and formation of GCWBFC All welcome enquiries 01179643034
Interesting to learn this morning from one of our website members (F2) that on attending a club meeting last night (not an all border club) that it is not only bordermen that experienced the unusally high percentage of hens leaving the eggs after a few days or even the chicks before 3 or 4 days old. Many new colour and gloster men had same problems resulting in particularly low numbers of chicks at this moment in time. All are hopeful that things will pick up from now on.
That said, nothing is then done to determine why so many up and down the country have had same problem? How do we go about finding out the cause of these things instead of just accepting "well thats what happens" I will no doubt be shot to bits for this but would the fancy be in a position to sponsor a Post Graduate Vet student to do a Phd project on the Border Canary Reproductive system/cycle and the problems we are encountering? Is this something that our governing body (BC) would have the funds to support? (I have no idea) I am sure there would be enough of us to engage with such a person during the breeding season especially if we were getting first hand diagnosis of what was going wrong with our birds. I would certainly sign up for it. Google Vet Phd sponsorship and read up on it - I think its worth someone doing a bit of research to see if possible. Spose doing nothing is the other option :-)
Bye for now
Evening everyone, bit of interesting news, for the first time ever I have had more international visitors to the website that hits from the UK. Top of the charts are Turkey, Italy and Portugal.
Still quiet in the shed and chicks just growing on nicely, ran a couple in a show cage yesterday just to see how they were, left them for 2 or 3 minutes then back in own stock cage. Few call today from friends and generally doing well, the theme seems to be that the early desertions have slowed down and hens sitting better. Still few clear eggs and DIS but that happens to us all.
Just going to check if anyone in the chatroom
Very quiet in the shed today and will be for rest of this week as nothing due off until end of this week. Hope this little patch of bad luck is over, in past 48 hours I had the nest of 5 squashed and a nest of 4 have also gone by the way side - both clutches didnt even get to a day old.
I think this breeding season has been the most difficult I can remember and if not proactive rather than reactive my numbers would be half of what I have got.
I have had reports that some are having problems logging on the chatroom - the reason is that the security has been updated and if you use firefox instead of google you will be able to log on easy enough.
Oh the joy of Borders and challenges they bring us on daily basis - yesterday the joy of having the last 3 nest to hatch all having 5 come out, yet this morning I go in the shed to find one nest of 5 completely flattened in the bottom of the nest bowl (5 - nil to the border voodoo) but then I find that another hen hatched 4 out last night - so swings and roundabouts isn't it?
I split off another few hens this morning (season over for them) winding down slowly now and letting hens finish off either chicks they are feeding or the one that are sitting they can hatch out eggs, rear young then its done and dusted.
News from those that keep in touch with me is that all have got chicks now but very slow progress for some, with biggest disapointment being hens either deserting eggs after 4 or 5 days or leaving chicks after a few days. I have experienced these problems more than usual too this year but I have to be happy with the fertility rate this year, clear eggs yes, but not the bucket full I have endured previously. That said, I dont have the reason for this as not many changes made to my system. I am one for making changes only when their is good reason and based on logic and evidence if possible. One thing for sure though is that changes have to be made to progress otherwise you will get the same results (these may be good or bad) Over the last 3 years what changes have I made? Firstly, stopped using soaked seed and replaced with Hooded Siskin Mix. Secondly, 3rd year of using GROG and Thirdly, researched and fully understand the hens reproduction system and how their sperm storage tubules operate - without this knowledge we take pot luck as to cocks hitting the hens at the right time. So have these changes made a difference: 2011= 16 chicks, 2012= 55, 2013 = 90 and so far this year on track to match 2013.
One thing though, it is hard work and not just luck - we have to make our own luck.
Evening all, just posted some pics sent in by our friend George Thompson.
Birds here are doing ok and another nest of 5 hatched out - thats 3 nest of 5 out of 5 on the bounce this week, not sure who has sprinkled some magic dust over my shed at the minute, I am sure there is a hammer blow coming soon though. I am at home this weekend so have chance to carryout major clean up operation and tidy everything up. Not that is is bad but will steam clean the floor and do the work tops etc. Hope you all have a good bank holiday, no doubt like me most of it will be in the shed.
Some have asked me what SM 14 2014 in the slide show opposite looks like now so tonight I snapped a quic pic of it on my phone and put it on the Home Page as a single pic under the slide show. Still not got full tail in yet so that shows how young it is. Might make up to being OK when it moults out.
Few more chicks hatched today and so far so good with them.
New page added to the Photo/video dropdown menu called Cuttings. Some excellent clippings from the newspapers and very fond memories of friends that are no longer with us. Please take a look and I am sure some you will want to down load and keep. It shows that everyone was young once upon a time (hey Phil)
Thanks to Colm for sending these in for us to use.
News from the shed is that youngsters still appearing and numbers rising slowly - very pleased with how they are looking so far but nothing for sure yet.
Take a quick look at the new page as mentioned
MORNING everyone from sunny Barcelona - yeh right!! chucking it down today following a lovely day yesterday. Oh well, out of here later on this evening and back to UK but wont be back in Blackpool until early hours of Monday morning, at least the M6 should be nice and clear.
News from home is that hatchings have been trickling through the system since I left and some due today so I wait for some good news all being well! full update tomorrow when I get into the shed and conduct a headcount.
Hope all well with everyone and hens now sitting full incubation period - this seems to be main problem so far this season?
Catch up later. S
A little ray of sunshine this morning as a good friend of mine was welcome by his first border chicks of the season today - always a nice sight the first ones each year.
I am just rushing around preparing for my trip to Barcelona, setting off for Heathrow shortly. A one day competition that forms part of the European Championships selection process.
I have been sent some cuttings that might be of interest to you, see to left of the news box. You can pause the slide show by clicking the pause button under the word (In) on the cutting header. The highlight for me was the 23 best border awards in one year by Mr A Atkin, in days though when far for shows available, but I think with double the entries maybe? The 4 gentlemen stood together just need a violin case under thier arm?
Not sure if I will have wifi when I get to Barcelona so it might be Monday before I get back online but will do my best.
Good luck to our friend MICKDON who has departed back down to Korea (working) see you home safe soon Mick.
Morning all - hope everything is well in your sheds? been a flurry of activety over the weekend with some hatchings, seperating and rings chicks, then hens laying first eggs of sencond round. Lots of info coming in from various sources but the main thing seems to be hens deserting eggs! in my shed too this has been a problem but the incubator has come to the rescue on each occasion - but there comes a time when you don't have enough places to put the eggs once you have binned the clear ones and made up full clutches of fertile eggs. I always respect Linda Hogan's opinions and she make some good suggestions on her website "Canary Tales" in fact she uploaded a new article yesterday that refers to hens leaving the nest and why she thinks this happens - well worth a read if you have time.
Spent he morning in the shed catching up and doing some general jobs that needed attention. Separated some chicks and rung them, the rings from the BC seem to be much better quality this year and very easy to put on, the metal seems to be much more substantial.
As would be the case for most - you can count on anything that looks good being the one to get something wrong with it, I have a cracking dark buff chick that I was really hopeful for but it has damaged its wing flying into the cage front, done what I can to make it comfortable but think it is curtains for it.
Quite a few had hatched off whilst I was away in Berlin, so most of what is left in the nest are less than one week old. Exception being 2 nests that will separated before I go to Barcelona next weekend.
Penultimate night before home tomorrow, we leave the training cnetre at 10am and then to Berlin Tegel Airport for flight that gets the team back in the UK for about 1.30pm. Quick whiz up the M6 (yeh right!!) and hope to make the birdshed before lights out tomorrow night.
New from home is that all is well and only one casulalty ( a weakling) has gone by the wayside, so my hope of getting home to more chicks than when I left is looking good. Slowly getting to grips with the facebook page MASON BORDERS but not yet able to work out how to navigate properly between pages - what I do like is the ability to upload photo's from my Blackberry phone straight away. So I will use this to post photo of the chicks as grow aswell as uploading to this website. I have missed not being in the chatroom but all being well I will be able to catch up with you all tomorrow night.
Will be spending the whole weekend in the birdshed no doubt, cleaning out and sorting chicks out, moving any stragglers around and general border husbandary. Looking forward to it.
Several have now been in touch with me to say they are making good progress and have broken the 50 chick mark - so looks like it could be a bumper year if this is a trend accross the country. I hope so for everyones sake.
Fencing day today here in Berlin with 50+ young athletes from GBR, GER, HUN and LTU making up a really good fencing poule and our athletes getting good experience for the upcoming competitions this summer.
News from home is that around a dozen eggs have hatched since I departed but a single chick has been moved to make up nest of 3. Next one due to hatch tomorrow then not til 23rd so will be a rest bite for a few days after tomorrow. My top row of cages are a little high for my wife to see in properly and this morning came the message of panic that one hen had escaped as not in the cage !!!! omg how did it get out? upon checking the cage by standing on the kitchen steps, the hen had been laying in a corner each morning and this morning started to sit the eggs (5) hence giving the impression that not in the cage. I thought it odd that no report of the hen laying as she was at point of lay when I left home but nothing in the nest each day was the msg I was getting - no wonder becuase laying in the corner...duh... at least the cock was being run in with the hen and all should be well in that respect. Eggs now duly moved to nest pan and hope all will be well.
Only 2 more full days here than back to UK Friday and back up to Blackpool by lights out on Friday night, providing that the M6 is kind to me. At least will be at home all weekend before back down to Heathrow Thursday for Barcelona (yawn) away again, but at least only until Sunday night.
News I have been getting from mates at home is varied and some good, some not do good. General problems seem to be hens deserting the nest and hens not feeding chicks well. For me it has been some DIS and young hens deserting the eggs at about 3 - 4 days. So far I have managed to incubate them and move as a full clutch to nest that had clear eggs or just fostered them out.
Total number of chicks unknown at present but I think once eggs that are sitting now have hatched and chicks reared - that will be enough for me this year. Will assess situation when I get back.
Good Luck to all chatroom mates, sorry but just not getting opportuinity at night to get online with time difference etc.....
Day 2 in Berlin for me and having serious birdshed withdrawal symptoms!! especially when I get news from home that in the nests that have eggs due off today there are egg shells on the floor of the cage - makes you want to know exactly what is what and how many etc.... home minder strongly believes in leaving well alone and let the hens just get on with it. So long as they have regular supply of softfood and clean water the hens will care for the chicks - yeh right!! if only that was the case as we all know. I think that if I go home to any increase in chick numbers then it is a bonus and have to be thankfull that at least they are being looked after. Main objective now when I get back next Friday is to try and get a round from the best pairs and then my season will be over. I will reduce the hens down to about 8 - 10 only for this purpose. All being well I will be able to close down the breeding by end of May at the latest.
I have heard from several friends that they are having problems with hens deserting the nest and leaving either eggs or young chicks - if anyone has any words of advice then I am sure it would be appreciated if a Forum debate was started on this subject. I will do my best to post a news article each day but wifi access in my cave (sorry room) is weaker than than Man Utd chances of finishing in top four. !! :-(
Just back from Birmingham (South) been at a mtg all day, left home at 6am and home 9pm, would have been sooner but got caught up in an accident on the M42 - delayed me massively. Didnt get in the shed tonight but have been told that some egg shells on the floor today so sounds good for a few more chicks maybe. Will be able to have a look in the morning before setting off for Heathrow and out to Berlin for next week - talk about bad timing!! loads of chicks in the nest and generally plenty to do in the shed, running second round cocks in with hens etc.... have to rely on home help :-) going to nip on the chatroom briefly tonight as we think Mick will be back in the UK and make an appearance tonight in the chatroom.
Hope everyone underway now or close to it - good luck and hope you have a good breeding season.
The GCWBFC club held their annual general meeting on Wednesday 9th April and the following officers were elected, President John Cunningham - Vice President Chris Gibbs - Chairman Dean Freestone - Vice Chairman Tony Quinn - Secretary Chris Gibbs - Treasurer Tony Wright - Patronage Secretary Des Horswell - Publicity Officer - John Cunningham - Transport Manager Geoff Taylor - Fund Raiser Tony Quinn - Ass Fund Raiser Roger Brett - Show Secretaries Dean/Victoria Freestone - Show Manager Trevor Drake - Chief Steward Tony Quinn - Catering Manageress Victoria Freestone. Meeting held 2nd Wednesday each month contact 01179643034
New Border Convention Panel Judges
Congratulations to Antony Bristow, Colin Farrell and George McGougan on being appointed to the B Panel
Day started of chucking it down with rain but cleared up this afternoon to a dry and cold day. The hen had only hatched 2 from 4 by the time the lights went out tonight but happy enough yesterday when of my better pairs hatched 3 from 4 and they look like being clear or ticked at the most. Next 3 days I have 3 more nest due off then a break for few days - but will be in Berlin from Friday so all will be left in the capable hands of home team!!
Very bust at work has meant that I have had to commit to sitting at my desk most of the weekend today typing training log replies and making logistic preparations for the next few weeks when I will be away in Berlin for 7 days and then back for a couple and straight out to Barcelona. Anyone involved with transporting equipment, pistols and athletes as a team will appreciate the amount of admin that goes into each trip. But hey, this is what I choose to do and most of the time really enjoy it. Down side is that I missed out on going to the Schools Biathlon Final being held at the Olympic Stadium this weekend, some 1,600 children benefiting from the London 2013 legacy. I don't normally get involved with just the swim/run events but this is a one off special effort by everyone in our sport and I am behind a desk in Blackpool.
Managing to nip in the shed through the day though and have a nest due off today, I see egg shell on the floor so looks promising for when I check it later today. 3 more nests due off before I leave for Berlin on Friday so hope I can get a few more chicks in the nest before I go.
Hope the BC AGM goes OK today and we get some positive feedback that all is well in our hobby.
It is absolutely chucking it down here at the minute - weather completely crazy in this country.
Will try to get on the Chatroom tonight - catch up later.
Thanks to Mick Slater for sending in some pics of his shed (external and internal) nice set up Mick. He tells me that he has some chicks hatching out now too.
I have a couple of clutches due off over this weekend - fingers crossed
GCWBFC Annual General Meeting 2014
Wednesday 9th April at 8.00pm
Page Community Association All welcome
Just uploaded a few photos of the chicks so far. some just leaving the nest, example next to news box. A clear youngster - nice enough I think.
I have just put a link on the Border Info & Links Page for Paul and Billy Heathcotes website. Well worth a look especially the picture galleries - some really nice borders to see.
Here today in Blackpool, work is manic and not finding the time to get down to the birdshed much other than first thing in the morning and at teatime. Young ones are being catered for though and my bird minder!! does a good job. I saw some egg shells on the floor this morning so assuming that new arrivals evident - not sure how many as I just left them alone. Saturday, Sunday and Monday will see the end of the first round except for 2 or 3 that went down later due to doubling up the cocks.
Complete pain in the backside this morning as I had a nest full of jumpers (chicks that spring out of the nest before they are really ready to do so) no matter what you do they will keep leaping out, settle for a few minutes then ping out they go. So nest pan on the floor and they can either use it or not as the case maybe.
Hope to get on the chatroom bit later tonight when I finish work.
Morning, now in the fencing hall having been to the swim at 6am this morning. No news from the birdshed so will have to catch up bit later on. Only know that several chicks hatched yesterday so all seems to be well.
Morning everyone. Writing from my Premier Inn room at Gloucester before start of hectic days of meetings and tonight setting up for the weekends competition, should be home actually as clutches due to hatch Sunday.
The website facebook page is really proving to be a hit and brilliant link to so many birdmen around the world - thanks to everyone that has joined etc. See link next to the chat box.
Catch up later, have to dash for early start
Wet and cold day here today but all seems to be ok in the shed, should have some hatching tomorrow or the next day so fingers crossed for that.
I have some information about a new bedding supplier Vernon's Animal Bedding firstname.lastname@example.org they do a range of products and seem to be very competitive price wise. I had a couple of samples sent to me and sent Nicole my observations back this afternoon. The sample were very clean and could be used. I have asked if a product one grade (size) small granules could be produced and then it would be equal to or better than Gold Chip, then they could be very useful to the canary world in the UK. Nicole has been helpful and should you want to know anymore about their products then email her at the email address in this news article.
Getting to grips with the fb page but still not confident and know I am missing all sorts of contacts coming in - my inbox is smashed to bits with emails and "friends" omg am I supposed to respond to everything - need to retire early to do that. Just how many Bordermen are there in Italy? seems like half the Italian population breeds borders and all of a sudden want me to like them mmmm..... and be their friend!!
Tea time in the shed - off down to feed the birds, bye for now. S
Amazing new world for me on FB - the Mid Ulster FB page is well worth a look and liking. I can't keep up with all the msgs at the minute but will catch up on them best I can.
You will see that I have started a FB link - not got a clue what to do with it yet but I am sure will soon pick it up. I had only launched it a few minutes and was hit with msgs to be friends!! I have booked a tutorial session with my daughter so I know what I am doing. See how we go!
Well we were warned last night on the weather forecast that temperatures would drop significantly overnight and they sure did. My outside thermometer recorded minus 5 so those that didnt have a frost precaution (heater of some description) might have a chilly shed this morning. I have got to the stage whereby I dont want to be stood in the shed chittering because I am so cold - so I keep it at a sensible temperature for me as much as the birds. As we used to say in the army it is easy to go hungry and be cold but when there is no need to then don't.
Birds ok this morning no casualties overnight, hens seem to be feeding chicks fairly well, one a bit smaller in one of the nests so giving it the odd top up - should make it but will eait and see. Wednesday and then over the weekend (when I am away again) are the next clutches to hatch and then that is it for round one, except for a couple of hens that have shown no interest at all yet. Fingers crossed that the fertile eggs actually hatch and not DIS as that would be very annoying. Catch up later in the chatroom. S
History in the making - I had a visitor today outside of the Fleetwood weekend!! I shackled Garyy Burrows to the shed for an hour or so making sure he didnt leave too soon. As it happend he wanted to stay anyway and we had a really good catch up. He brought me a couple of bags of sawdust (Teirwohl) seems to be ok and I will move to it instead of Gold Chip now. I can see what some people say about the odd sharp bit in it but the stuff is so tightley packed that if you use your hand to dig it out then you tend to feel the odd sharp bit even more - a scoop solves that problem. The actual size of the granuals are perefectly ok.
Plenty of comments came to me about Billy Heathcotes idea of the Hessian liners for the nest pans (see opposite photos) comments ranged from very positive and a great idea to some question about if the eggs would actually roll around to easy? one thing for sure they wouldnt snag or not turn at all - no chance of addled eggs. If you have an opinion then come on the chatroom about 9.30pm tonight and we can have a small debate about pro's and con's of Billy's idea.
Also the BC mandate being discussed on the Forum page is picking up steam, we could have a discussion around that too later.
No news from the shed today, hens feeding the chick that have hatched so far, other hens sitting and some still laying first round.
Added a photo sent in by Paul Heathcote of his now finished shed extension - it looks better than my house, well better painted anyway. There are 2 photos on the "around the sheds" slide show from Paul, one with shed half way complete and one with it completed. Lovely job Paul - nice one.
Not much news from the shed today other than couple of hens have started laying at last, thought they were going to be duds but they have come good. Still got one or 2 that wont have a cock bird anywhere near them though - introduce a cock and all hell lets loose, got a slide part way open to try and get them used to each other but not a chance at the minute.
26th is the next due off date and then 30th and 31st and 1st - that will be the first round done and dusted, except for the hens that dont want to know and have done nothing yet. I suppose birds are like any other living creature in that there are good parents, bad parents, ones that make good homes and ones that don't, one that feed their kids and those that don't, so no different with borders - some are good and some are not. I bet reading this there will be bordermen saying, bugger me I have got all the bad ones in my shed!! - well believe me they are spread everywhere and we all have our fair share of duffers - some just don't admit to it :-)
Hang on and enjoy the ride best you can. S
Morning everyone - from a bright but cold spring day here in Blackpool, the sun is shining and after a dull early start the sky is blue.
Carried out my morning duites in the birdshed and more positives than negatives today, in the majority the hens are feeding ok but one hen deserted overnight and a couple of chicks squashed in another nest. So the eggs are in the incubator and they will be fine I think (usually are) and squashed chicks in the bucket. I am sure that these are things that happen in most bird sheds at some point during the season and no one has a trouble free time - you just dont hear about it. The premier exhibitors must also have set backs, DIS, clear eggs and deserting hens but as I say it is not something that is common knowledge.
Last year I bred 90 youngsters (actually rung 90) and that was a task to far for me with being away so much. It was an amazing achievement, don't get me wrong and I was humbled at doing so well when many of my friends struggled, but guys believe me it is hard work managing that lot, feeding and changing water let alone trying to show cage train them! omg. I was thinking this year if I could get about half that number it would give me sufficient to select a breeding team for 2015 and have a few to dispose of to those that have ordered birds from me. Although If I could sneak to about 50 that would do me nicely, a few more than my original target for this year. Just about at the half way point now, on that basis.
I am not using soaked seed this year as last year it made no difference to me not using it, the Hooded siskin mix is being used as a dry misture and the hens are already accepting it. Be careful if you put in softfood though as the hen scatter the egg food to get to the siskin mix and they waste the eggfood. I wait until chicls are about 7 days old then let the hens have some siskin mix in a separate drawer.
As I said before, dont negelct the singled off cocks if you dont keep them in with your hens - keep them fit for 2nd round!!
Speak tonight in Chatroom if you are around.
Absolute juggling act at the minute - hens hatching off and not interested, hens sitting and deserting after about a week and then hens that are being good and doing what they should do. All that said, it is what I have come to expect and patience required at the highest order. Several border chicks now hatched and whilst not without complications, I am just happy that there are fertile eggs in the shed and chicks are now chipping out. Had one nest of DIS (3 out of the 5 fertile) and the usual smattering of clear eggs. My first round is usally not as good as second one but sign are ok at the moment. From what I have seen there seems to be higher proportion of darks, but that doesn't bother me at all - I have paired for some light marked birds this year so I am sure they will come eventually.
Waiting game now, get them out of the nest and on the perches then we can start counting them - until then we have nothing. Good luck to those with eggs due off this week.
One chatroom member has close to 50 border chicks already - bumper year?
Back from weekend working away, been very busy and totally worn out, will sleep well tonight.
One or two have hatched off but not sure how many, but eggshell on cage floors. Will have a proper look tomorrow.
Cumbria BFCC A.G.M
Thursday 13th March 2014 at 07-30pm
Aspatria Rugby Union Club
Friday 14th March 2014 at 8.30.
Discussion on auction and programme for 2014/15.
City of Dublin Workingmans Club
Saturday 22nd March 2014 start 8.00pm
Greenside Cricket club,
All are very welcome
Queries contact George Eltringham 01914133838 or Malcolm Scott 01914132830
Border Fancy Canary Club
Sunday, 23rd March, 2014 at 11 a.m
The Cricket Club, Victoria Road, Fauldhouse
West Lothian, EH47 9LF
Full patronage for 2014 specialist shows and affiliated patronage for CBS shows is now available. Please contact patronage secretary Mr Des Horswell 435 Speedwell Road,Kingswood,Bristol BF 151 ER. 01179672933 All applications must be received by the end of May
Got back from Aberdeen last night but shattered today and felt like a zombie for most of it. Been a nice day weather wise but tonight we have a hard frosty fog come down and temerature has dropped significantly.
Couldnt wait any longer to check the clutches of eggs that sitting and due off this Sunday - mixed results, two of the very ones I wanted to have full eggs were clear but some had 4 full eggs in a nest so can't complain. The next batch of eggs are due around the 21st with others only set tonight and so due on 26th - I like to hold back about 4 - 6 clutches to set on same night as it gives much more flexibility if you have to move chicks around.
Some on the chatroom last night were delighted with start to their season with double figure chicks (borders) in one case with more fertile eggs due off today and the coming weekend. Excellent news, well done (especially as a 2 of the hens producing came from here :-)
Sort of brings the news we want to here because generally if people are doing well around the country then there is chance it will be a good season for us all - if you believe that weather and climate makes a difference.
So overall sounds like people are sticking to their own plan and happy enough so far.
Catch up in the Chatroom later tonight. S
Afternoon everyone, just taking a break form the shed, been in there since first light this morning. You learn so much from just sitting watching the characterisitcs of your birds. Some hens are total bullies to the cocks and visa versa - I have one cock that as soon as it gets put in the hens cage he rips the nest bowl to shreds and all her hard work is lost - Top tip "put the hen in the other half of the breeding cage then put him in so that he has no access to the nest bowl" bloody swines some cocks.
Had a website link sent to me from America that sells just about every "good" bird medication that you would need, including some mycin's that are no longer available here in the UK. If you have relatives in the US or mates that would send you some over then this is the link to the website (luckily my brother lives in Florida)
Just cut and paste that link.
Thinking of having a conference call soon as we did last year, it means I give out a phone number that we all call at the same time and basically we have a debate/forum about a particular subject. I was thinking about early breeding season problems to be avoided or along those lines for anyone just starting out.
Will keep everyone posted if it goes ahead.
Enjoy remainder of your weekend. S
Twitter got the better of me sorry to say!! so I will maintain the account and will use it from my pda/phone but not have a direct feed on the Home Page. I will use it to upload photos etc through the day when in the shed if anything of interest, to see these you will have to click the link (2 on home page) @masonborders and then just follow me by clicking FOLLOW.
Enough tweeting for one day thank you.
Had morning in the shed and all going as planned so far, odd little problem but only what I would expect - the next moan from me will be when I check eggs for fertility and they are clear, that is the most annoying thing ever apart from find a nest full of squashed chicks - been close to tears many times, it gives you an actual sick feeling in your stomach and no matter if you are Phil or a novice just begining the feeling is felt just the same. A sign of weakness lies in giving up but the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
By popular request I have uploaded my 2014 Hatching Dates Sheets. See link opposite. Didnt realise people actually looked at it, but here it is anyway.Big numbers the setting date and little numbers the hatching date. Good luck
Irish BFCC Discussion on auction and preparation of 2014/15 program
Friday 7th March. at 8.30 pm City of Dublin Workingmen’s Club
Sunday 9th March 2014 10.30 SHARP
WINSILL NEIGHBOURHOOD RESOURCE CENTRE. CANTERBURY WAY, WINSILL,
BURTON ON TRENT, DE15 0HD
MEETING SUSSEX AND KENT B.F.C.C. A.G.M
Sunday 9th March 2014 10 am
Larkfield Village Hall.
West Wales BFCC
Annual General Meeting
Monday 10th March 2014 7.00pm
Morriston Rugby Club
Morning - ever wish you hadn't started something? this Twitter thing is doing my head in but not going to let it beat me. I have consulted my IT Geek (Laura) and now know a little bit about how it works. If anyone that wants to post a Tweet direct to the home page then we have to be following each other (omg, all my life I have been wary of people following me and now I am encourageing it - just dont get too close)
So..... you have to follow @masonborders and then I follow you. Then you will appear on the Tweet Box.
Give it a go and see how we get on...
Birds this morning are OK, some aggresive cocks but once they have done their duty they are out of the cage as quick as they went in so no problem there. Still have some reluctant hens but they will come forward in next week or so and will keep the flow going. Main thing is to set a couple of pairs at same time so that you have flexibility to move youngsters around if you have to. Those that use a de-humidifier dont forget to switch it off soon or at least when the eggs are set as you will/may have problems when hatching comes. You dont want to be sucking all the humidity out of your birdroom at this time of the season - common sense but easy to overlook. Also have a couple of nest type options available as some hens go bonkers at sight of a red clay bowl but take straight away to a wooden pan or lighter coloured one. I also find that if a hen wants to nest on the floor, then let her, no need upsetting her, just let her go to nest. I usually put a small piece of card on the wires if nesting close to the cage front so that some privacey - also I find that a flat bottomed wooden nest pan is better in these circumstances as the bowls wobble if not supported. Just my thoughts.....
As promised I have uploaed the Twitter account that I took down in 2012.
I think this is a really good facility and anyone with a twitter account can add messages to it instantly or upload a photo direct from your iphone/smartphone. I just tried uploading a pic of hen sitting this afternoon and within seconds of taking the pic it was on the home page.
You can scroll down the side bar and see old messages, but the one on there are from 2012 so will take a few days to build up with new ones.
Lets see how we go with it and then decide if a welcome addition to the site or not.
Just back from days meeting in London, 5am start this morning, train down and back. Went down in the cattle truck wagon but back 1st class it was actually cheaper and it always baffles me how that happens.
Had update about the shed and no more desertions, few more eggs laid this morning so good news today. Still several hens being held back yet because they are not ready, another week or so I think before nest bowls introduced to them. Will run the cocks in with them prior to chat and gauge reaction from hens, this is usually a good indicator, but I am strong beiliever in a visual check of the vent too.
Next task is to see some fertile eggs hatching out so that we can move on to the challenge of rearing the chicks - makes the heart flutter justing thinking about it. Borders are like being on the Big One roller coaster ride at the Pleasure Beach just down the road, one minute you are at the top and high point but the next minute you crash to lowest point of the ride. I have my ticket and the ride has started !!
Incubator springs into action today! had it fired up for few days in case of any early desertions and true to form a couple of young hens run their eggs today after sitting for 2 days so they are now in incubator, once i know if they are fertile I will move them under a foster hen or bin them if otherwise unfertile.
I was expecting some hens to leave their first clutch of eggs as they are so fit just didnt go broody - will give them a week or so now and re-introduce the nest bowls, they should then be fine and take to sitting them out. Absolute constant challenge on daily basis trying to maximixe fertility, produce eggs, get hens to sit and then rear the chicks - but it is all what makes us bordermen isn't it?
No doubt many hours of head scratching in front of me in the nest couple of months.
Firstly apols to Glenn calling him Gregg duh me.... in my previous posting.
Nice day but freezing cold, not bothering the birds though as they seem to be going good guns at the minute and few eggs now in the storage box. I know it is early but as I keep saying, if I dont get them going I miss out on the season because I have to be done and dusted by 2nd week June due to overseas commitments with work. I always try to manage my trips best I can around hatching dates but not always possible.
Just nipping down to the shed now to have last check today and top up seed etc.
Catch up later. S
Well the Stafford road trip opver and now back in Blackpool. It was great to catch up with so many chatroom members and see plenty of bordermen knocking around. The BC desk was well manned and drawing attention with the Journals piled up on the desk for complementry copies to passers bye and interested parties. Plenty with be thumbing through BC Journals tonight?? maybe not :-)
Thanks to Alan, Simon and Gregg for a good night on Saturday, dinner and couple of pints. The talk was good and informative
The Stafford Sale itself never ceases to amaze me with the numbers of people that actually attend!! we were there before 8am and sat in about half a mile que for the car park, this was just the traders at this time and then the general public get in later - I bumped into Mark S who had just jumped the public que that was over 800m long (no joking!) and 2 or 3 deep in places just to get a wrist band. The numbers of sale birds increases each time I go with for sure the mutation british rising price everytime; reasonable agate siberian goldie cock £650.00 with others around the same price bracket. Border few and far between and most look like norwich crosses but there was the odd one or 2 that found way into sale hall that actually didnt look too bad, mostly from people we know.
All in all a good day, able to top up with few supplies and best of all as I said earlier it was good to see so many of the website members there.
Got home to some eggs laid and taken out of nests for me as usual - eggs are one things though and getting chicks another (as we all know) Talking to people today seems quitea few are making a start in some way or another, some just paring up, some few weeks away, some with eggs and chicks even!
Tired now though, been a long few days!! quick chat in chatroom tonight then crash out. S
Now in Gloucester and engaged with shooting training - athletes doing very well. But what a contrast today, we have team competing in Appapulco (Mexico) in World Cup #1 and the competition has had to be cancelled after 2 of the 5 events dur to extreme heat - 44 degrees and the horses brought in for the competition are falling over with exhaustion, so you can imagine what state our athletes are in. Then the contrast! here in Gloucester this morning it was scraping the windscreen time. Difference of 40 degrees!! omg.
So today I am at training camp until later this afternoon then whizzing up to Stafford to meet up with "the gang" od chatroom guys for a curry and some banter no doubt. Then have a look at the hotel car boot sale this evening !! with the Stafford sale on tomorrow. Looking forward to it.
Dashing around this morning trying to get sorted before I leave shortly for training camp this weekend starting tonight at Hartpury - not what I need right now but has to be done. Good news is that birds are in fine shape and nest building going well, first few eggs now safely stored away and expect more over next few days. Cutting away tomorrow night to head up to Stafford, stay there Sunday morning and then whizz back to Blackpool to rescue the bird minder!!
Amazing what an old light bulb can bring to nest building, old hands will already have one on standby but anyone worried about scruffy nest builders, just get a light bulb and turn it a few times in the nest and it leaves the nesting material nicely round and shaped. I find if there are any lumps or uneven bit of nesting material in the nest the hens cant turn the eggs and this sometimes leads to problems. Some say the hens dont turn the eggs at all but I think they do and this definitely helps. Once the hens are sitting dont forget to keep the cocks fit if they are not in with the hens as pairs (if so they will eat the softfood anyway) but if not then keep them in excellent condition and dont neglect them, you need them in tip top condition for 2nd round. The odd bit of softfood and wheatgerm oil will keep them on their toes.
Thats all for now - in hurry and have to get on the M6/M5
Just been sent a link to a nice website Mansfield Woodhouse CBS see at http://www.mwcbs.co.uk
particularly meaningful for me as this was one of my first club show many years ago, along with Holmewood, Shirebrook and Chesterfield all hold many fond memories of driving with my grandfather to these shows. Thanks for sending me the link George, I enjoyed browsing arounf the site.
Birds settling back down nicely after complete lighting system failure and Les from Sunrise bailing me out with a next day delivery of new dimmer unit, had previous one for many years so think it just gave up, on one of the circuit boards a couple of little wires fused together somehow and burnt out.
Nests still being built, nesting material being re-cycled as much as possible as huge amount of waste otherwise. Hope for good percentage to be laying by weekend, some started already - seen cocks mate to most but not all, then again we dont always see them mating. Fingers crossed they have tale good tread. Only time will tell.
Oh the joy of spending time in the shed and got a full week until Friday when away again but only Saturday working then drop into Satfford Sale on my way back on Sunday for a nose around and meet up with friends for an hour or so.
Good news from the shed is that hens are building nicely and cocks treading in strong fashion - I think I can say control has been handed back to me and hope to get some results with fertile eggs soon. Done all I can to ensure things go ok now - so just need to see if what I have done suits the birds and they produce the goods. Border hens are like women, some keep excellent house in order and some just chuck stuff everywhere, birds: some make the nicest tidy nest and others build like a wood pigeon rubbish nest.
Hope for more positive reports from now on :-)
Back in Blackpool and in some cases arrived at the start line too late as eggs to be found on the floor of cages - looking at this in positive way at least I know the hens are in great condition and the programme worked well but they were probably a week ahead of were I thought they were. So immediate action now in place as only single eggs laid so cocks straight in, mated like rampant rapist and nest bowls in. I will let them finish and sit, rescue any fertile eggs and put under fosters - then rest them a week and kick off properly. Not total mess but another week away and it could have been. Plenty that are on perfect timeline and now following normal routine, nest pans in this morning and will introduce cocks as and when as usual.
At home all next week so will be 100% in shed each day - that will get them on track etc.
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